Congress needs to pass a federal budget to restrain spending

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By Congressman Bob Goodlatte

Just last week the U.S. Treasury Department issued its “Annual Report on Public Debt” which confirmed that the national debt will soar to record levels.  The report estimates that the total debt for fiscal year 2010 will reach $14.75 trillion which is over 93 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP).  This current rate of government spending is having a crippling effect on our economy and overall job creation.

While federal spending is spiraling out of control, the House Democratic Leaders have failed to even propose a budget for the next fiscal year.  Without a budget, there is no procedural enforcement mechanism to constrain spending.  So far through the first eight months of the current fiscal year, which began last October 1st, the federal government amassed $941 billion in deficit spending which puts us on the dangerous track to an annual deficit (the amount by which government spending exceeds tax revenues) approaching last year’s record $1.4 trillion. 

We are simply on an unsustainable course but there seems to be no end in sight to the Congressional spending spree. In fact, when White House Budget Director Peter Orszag was pressed on whether he would send a package of budget cuts to Congressional Democrats, he described  it as a “fruitless exercise” with a “low probability of success” that would “go nowhere.”

Without the passage of a federal budget the reckless spending that has run rampant in Congress will only continue. A recent Gallup poll shows that this point is not lost on the majority of Americans.  Seventy nine percent of Americans view the federal debt as a serious threat to the “future well being” of our country.  In addition, one hundred American economists recently wrote to House Leadership saying the way to boost the economy and create private sector jobs is to take immediate action to rein in federal spending.  It is the key to boosting the economy and creating private sector jobs.

Not only must Congress produce a budget but it must also work toward balancing it as soon as possible.  I am a strong supporter of several measures that promote the establishment of a balanced budget and the elimination of wasteful government programs, including a Constitutional amendment that I introduced which requires the federal government to balance its budget each year.  Congress must steadfastly hold the line on government spending which is why I have consistently voted for the tightest budgets offered each year. 

The American people know that we can’t borrow and spend our way back to prosperity.  The path to our economic recovery starts with fiscal responsibility in Washington.  The federal government must follow the example set by our nation’s families and businesses – set a budget which eliminates unnecessary and wasteful spending. The future of America depends on it.

To contact me about this or any other matter, please visit my website at www.goodlatte.house.gov.